Strong Opening Weekend for Devils & Diamonds
The Waitakere Blue Devils and Blue Diamonds have made a strong start to their campaigns in the Honda National Water Polo League, winning three of their first four games in front of a home crowd at West Wave.
Saturday saw the Diamonds take a confident win over the Marist women, 12-5, with Grace Tobin driving the scoreline in both penalties and perimeter play and Emmerson Houghton drawing key exclusions from centre forward. The Devils fell to a strong Marist men’s side, 15-5, feeling the loss of starters Anton Sunde and Sean Newcombe. Six players made their debuts for Waitakere’s National League sides in these games, proving themselves as valuable additions to the line up.
Keen to do better against Tauranga, the men came out strong on Sunday to take the win 13-10, maintaining a confident lead throughout the match (10-5 heading into the fourth quarter). New Devils Anton Sunde and Sam Ratima made their mark with consistent outside shooting, while Dom Rankin-Chitar wreaked havoc in the centre.
The women had a slow start, trailing 4-1 after the first quarter. After levelling the score to 5-5 by halftime, it was a tense final quarter with the Diamonds taking the lead for the first time but strong outside shooting from Tauranga seeing the final score all tied up at 11-11. Three rounds of penalties were required to get a result, with our Waitak women coming out on top 24-23. It was a bittersweet game for Miranda Chase, who, after 10 years of playing for the Blue Diamonds, is moving to Australia this week.
A huge thank you must go to Deb & Andrew Cameron for their work setting up the pool and ensuring that the day ran smoothly, and to our volunteers on table. Next weekend will see both teams travelling to Wellington for their first away games against Hutt Heat – good luck! #gowaitak
Images courtesy of Tauranga Water Polo.